Poetry: Sijo for Two (NaPoWriMo day 20)

The NaPo prompt for day 20 was to write a poem in a traditional Korean poetic form called sijo, in English of course. Sijo is a specific form with a little flexibility unless one wished to exercise poetic license to color outside the lines. Since these are only three lines of 14 to 16 syllables each, I wrote two for Tuesday.


Marvelous Melancholy

I forgot about something important. What being bored feels like.
Oh, how I long for the days when I could do what I wanted.
Now I can’t just up and do, up and go. I mustn’t fall on my ass.

***

A Taste of Tint

Like yellow, it has never been one of my favorite colors.
Did I ever favor any one color over another?
I’m starting to like orange. Never saw a color I didn’t like.


Look both ways. Then smile. Sing a song, “I’m Alive!”
Mind the gaps for forgotten sorrow or the taste of color.

Poetry: Dark Moon Rising (NaPoWriMo day 17)

For better or worse, the moon seems to exert a powerful hold on poets. Today, I was challenged to stop fighting the moon. I didn’t know I was, but I was to lean in and accept the moon. I was to know that the moon wants what’s best for me. I was to write a poem that is about, or that involves, the moon.


Dark Moon Rising

Today it is waxing crescent,
can be called the drinking moon,
because it wouldn’t spill a drop.

The full moon rising
this month and year,
should be April twenty-sixth,
it’s Spring’s Pink Super-moon,
not pink in color, but calls to a flower.

Tonight, the moon’s brightness
at twenty-four percent,
flying four point eight-two days
of its twenty-nine point five-three
days to orbit the earth
and to do its thing.

Writers love our moon
it anchors our latest story,
choosing when the moon is full
or when it’s gone
and making moon anew.

For the moon of the night
it’s not the sun’s reflection
that makes our moon so bright,
it’s the honest truth of darkness,
the darkness of the night.


Find your way in the darkness, use the moon for light.
But mind the gaps for there are dangers in the night.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #205 (uncanny)

Click image for Sammi’s Blog

Magic Music

Music finds my mood,
picks at my soul
it finds my feelings,
uncannily,
making music mine.
Is our love for sound and music
the saving grace of life?
Or is it our destiny
not to think about it twice?


Listen to the music but look to see it both ways.
The gaps between the notes, a place where angels play.

Poetry: Dad’s Ways (NaPoWriMo day 15)

For today’s NaPo prompt, I was supposed to think about (as in remember) a small habit I picked up from one of my parents. Then, I was to write, first about remembering my parent engaged in that behavior before writing about me doing the same thing.

I can do none of that. I recall no small habits of Mom or Dad, much less identify any I copied.

This prompt is one of several generative writing prompts created by Juan Martinez for his college-age creative writing students at Northwestern University. I’ve not been a college student for many years and probably completed my undergraduate degree before Professor Martinez was born.

But I wanted to write a poem from this prompt. Since Martinez used the term generative, I felt comfortable using his idea as the genesis for one applicable to my life by adjusting the parental habit concept to my father. Several of my father’s customs so irritated me that I intentionally do the opposite, do not do them, or if I ever did, I stopped copying them many years ago. This is not phyco-babble. I loved my Dad (sort of) but I despised much of what he did.

That way, I can remember and write about him while also writing about me not engaging in the same behavior, a bit of a reverse of the NaPo prompt. The original theme of a poem about my parent’s habits remains.


I loved him and I think
he loved me, but I can’t recall
him saying it. I’m freer with
I love you’s, hugs, and kisses. I don’t think
Mom considered him a good man.

He had only apple butter and cold
processed meat sandwiches as a kid.
I learned about apple butter at Jimmy’s house.
It was not allowed in ours.

Except for some dining-out places,
I hate for people to wait on or to serve me,
he seemed to expect it,
especially from my Mom.

His teeth spent nights in a glass with water,
I am meticulous about dental hygiene.

He smoked himself to death. I quit long ago.
He had religion. I gave that up too.
He often laid on the couch. I never do.

Our bathroom sink was always disgusting
because of his mess. I clean mine several times
each day and never leave it wet. I don’t think
I’m anal, but I pick up my shit and fix cockeyed things.

I learned how to do things and to have the right tools
before I start. He learned as he worked,
never with the right tool for the job.
I watched his frustration and learned
what not to do.

He didn’t drive. I have a motorcycle.
He smelled too much of cologne,
like a French whore house to me.
I never use scented products to smell attractive.

I believe exercise is good medicine,
he didn’t think so. I fight with my temper,
he often lost his without guilt. I tried to keep away
from him and that violent loss of control.

His ethnic epithets seemed normal Archie
Bunker stuff, I avoid them because of him,
not due to today’s PC environment. It was called
All In the Family, if you don’t know.

It seems to me that my Dad’s good influence
on me was letting me see, hear, and smell
that meat-and-potatoes Irishman who
I believe, did the best he could, and I knew
all along Mom wanted better.


Look both ways at their foibles and yours.
Nobody’s perfect, of course,
but mind the gaps to be the best you can.

 

Poetry: Mello Bill (NaPoWriMo day 14)

The NaPo prompt for today was to write a poem that “delves into the meaning” of my first or last name. For me, that’s about family history.


Mom couldn’t remember her mother,
but her father lived much longer. I,
while given his name, never met him
or any grandparent.

Mom’s family propensity
for female progeny meant that I
could have been baptized Wilhelmina.
But the presence of a penis undermined
her best planned pronouncements. I was William,
after my maternal grandfather, yet Mom and Sis
often teased by directing that female alias at me.

For my name, more meaning
requires German or Norman research,
the discovery of which
has nothing to do with me.

Neighbors often called me Danny
after my Dad or older half-brother, but
I told them, “I’m Billy.”
They often seemed confused.
Mom said I was demonstrative (whatever that meant).
Wilhelmina probably would have been histrionic.
Today it’s curmudgeonly snarkastic, but they love me.

I don’t know if so-called meanings of my name
have squat-all to do with who I am, or this William.
It’s Bill that I prefer to go by although our first born
is also named William and goes by Billy
(or Bill when I’m not around).

As for that “strong-willed warrior,
protector, or helmet” stuff from the dictionaries,
regarding the meanings of my first name,
none of it has anything to do with me,
or who I am.

Yet, some who know would call me stubborn.
And there were all those years in uniform
for which people insist on thanking me,
as if I’d been an underpaid volunteer.
Maybe so, maybe not. I guess we’ll never know.


Look both ways and inward.
Does your name define who you are, or is it the other way around?
Mind the gaps in family history, you might not be who you think you are.

Poetry: A junk drawer song (NaPoWriMo day 10)

The day ten NaPo prompt is to write a junk drawer song.

The process was to choose a song, listen to it and make notes. I was not to overthink it (yeah, right), but too late. Next, I was to rifle through a junk drawer and make more notes about the objects therein.

Third, I needed to bring the two pages of notes together by writing a poem. The final step is to name the poem.

I made a list of seven songs, then selected “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel. If I am to connect a song to a poem, that folksy tune is it. If you are familiar with the Bridge Over Troubled Water version, you may not be aware of the verse sometimes left off. Read it and you’ll see me.

The verse not included:

Now the years are rolling by me—
They are rockin’ evenly.
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I’ll be.
That’s not unusual;
No, it isn’t strange:
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same;
After changes we are more or less the same.

I had less control over the junk drawer, but I was able to choose from various depositories for miscellaneous stuff.


Take Comfort Here

I am the boxer. Back then,
I had more future than past.
It could have been worse.
I found buttons and church keys.

How I saw it all then,
Doing wrong making bad,
And sorry I wasted anytime on that bull shit.
There was a domino of Oma,
Among bottle caps of cities,
Near an empty tube of something.

But it was to please them that I wanted.
And promises I’d heard,
Smiley faced measuring tape,
Two hand fans, or was it three?

Is that a hypodermic needle?
When a boy becomes a man,
For a long time, he’s neither.
Looking for something to make his own.
An orange highlighter to ruin a good book.
Dried up glue sticks.

I felt the pain and heard the call,
A temptation was my sin.
A needle and nail polish remover?

I didn’t and still don’t know what I wanted.
In such a coal miner’s lad finds comfort.
Low places. It could be worse. An old iTouch,
A thumb drive. Julie’s roller derby pin.

I stand before the mirror.
I am still a boy with a fighter’s heart
Crying out,
“I’m leaving, I am leavin’ ‘n want no company,”
But I’m still the same frightened boxer.


I look both ways, at who I was and who I am:
still the same, not wishing I was gone.
The gaps are bleedin’ me, leadin’ me…home.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #199 (element)

Click to go to Sammi’s blog

Petrichor Remembered

Loved the feel as I stepped down to the trail.
Recent rains changed everything. I loved the smell
of dry leaves and trees and soil,
natural elements like the scent of petrichor,
a feeling that gives me chills today,
just thinking and remembering. All in with nature.


Look both ways. All is nature, a mistress to everyone.
Mind her gaps for secrets to survival.

Sammi’s Weekender #197 (call)

Click for Sammi’s blog.

I wrote two poems because I liked this prompt.


Happy Raspy

The young, talented, beautiful Irish busker’s angelic voice,
unique and indescribable, called to me from Grafton Street.

Her glancing smile and raised brow calls all to pay homage
to the gift that brings me to resonated tears. My raspy old poem.

***

Yo, Billy Boy

When we said, “Call for me,”
we invited a friend, always a boy,
usually Jimmy, to stand outside and yell,
“Hello, Bill (or Billy)” loud enough
to be heard from any part of the house
and responded to, if anyone cared.

***


Look both ways on Grafton in Dublin.
Mind the gaps in such a marvelous voice.

Treasured Rags

 

“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.” (Marie Kondo)


New clothes were brought home
as treasured items proudly worn.
Gifts of love once remembered.

And cloth diapers for three babies,
none of whom used wash and wear for theirs,
but they sure as hell wore them.

Old shirts, their purpose long fulfilled,
now used to clean, dry, or wipe.
They’re washed, then continue to serve.

Old rags have memories woven into fabric—
from experiences with life;
from when first worn, old rags aren’t discards.

They’ve simply changed uses. Like people.
And memories. Lots of memories.
“…a rite of passage to a new life.”


Look both ways,
from the marvel of the mint to the value of the venerable.
Mind the gaps, but for most, “it don’t mean a thing.”

Sammi’s Weekender #183 (Wrangle)

Click to go to Sammi’s page and words of other’s.

Left, Right, Left

Loudly, we would wrangle well into the wee hours.
Gene and I would worry all but us; uneasy friends, smok-an’ drinkin’ buds
with different ways we saw our world.
Not even—no more.


Look and listen both ways. Lean from friends.
Mind the gaps of age and wisdom, our unforgiving nature.

***